Evaluating literary resources on the internet: Toward an internet guide for literary research

Date of Publication


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Language and Literature Major in English

Subject Categories

Reading and Language


College of Liberal Arts


Literature, Department of


This study attempts to determine whether resources available on the Internet meet the needs of literary scholarship.The study was completed in four stages. The preliminary search for resources was conducted from 8 April to 20 November 1998. Resources were screened and only sites that conformed to defined criteria were included in the third stage. All resources were organized into a workable database and used for data evaluation. Finally, each site was spidered to determine whether their resources and structure conformed to the defined criteria.The total number of results from Hotbot, Excite, Infoseek, Tanikalang Ginto, Lycos, Looksmart, Yahoo, and Philippine Online was 1,513. Of these only 140 of the websites passed the evaluation criteria.It is clear that a very small percentage of search results found by common search engines are useful to the literary scholar. The working limitations of robots, lack of evaluative methods and sheer volume of WebPages make it very difficult for researchers to find relevant and reputable material.Most digital libraries' primary objective is the traditional matter of preservation and circulation of texts. The lack of time and space limitations are quite clear advantages of making these collections available on the Internet. With the exceptions of a few print materials owned by the researcher, all reference materials used for the study were either retrieved from the Internet or ordered online. However, most libraries are not particularly concerned with non-textual aspects of literary study. And because digitization of texts is a time-consuming and copyright restricted enterprise, some websites are devoted to either non-textual literary scholarship or simply provide links to other WebPages without presenting any material of their own.

It is possible find the critical, textual, historical and biographical needs of literary scholarship on the Internet, albeit in short supply. This is especially true for traditional Western Literature and minority Literatures of the United States. If this study included other languages, it is probable that results would have been more diverse and uniform in terms of national literatures.Literary resources that suit the requirements of literary scholarship in English exist on the Internet. It was observed, after evaluation of the sites, that: (1) Majority of the resources focuses on Classical Western or American literature (2) Almost all of the sites are primarily devoted either to literary texts or author information (3) By using a linear or indexed application design, over 80 percent do not take full advantage of the Internet as a multidirectional information source (4) A majority, 69 percent of sites use structural links and (5) Cataloguers have attempted to index available resources but have not restructured their systems to accommodate the web-like structure of the Internet.The Medieval Studies Page, Victorian Women Writer's Project, and the Little Red Riding Hood Project, among others, are proof that it is possible to create comprehensive catalogue of literary resources on the Internet using an unstructured application design containing knowledge-based links. However, these projects are limited and difficult to find. For the literary researcher, they can be easy or difficult to locate.

Abstract Format






Accession Number


Shelf Location

Archives, The Learning Commons, 12F Henry Sy Sr. Hall

Physical Description

179 leaves


Internet (Computer network); Information resources management; Information retrieval; Database searching

This document is currently not available here.